Estate Planning

Planning for your future generally means thinking about what type of car you want to buy, or what your dream home looks like or where you want to live when you retire. While those things are important, it is equally important, if not more, to think about planning your estate. Whether you think that estate planning is only for people who are very well-off or you just don’t want to think about things like that, it is important to make plans for your future.

At Gerten and Van Valkenburg, PA, we realize how difficult it is to make these types of decisions. No one wants to think about what will happen when they get too old to take care of themselves or how they want their property divided. However, if you don’t make these decisions for yourself, other people will make them for you because of your inaction. Rather than have the state or medical personnel make those decisions, you can make them yourself and have your plans take effect.

We are compassionate and caring, and work with our clients to create estate plans that take into account their specific concerns and circumstances. We are not a one-size-fits-all firm where there is a cookie-cutter approach to estate planning. We take the time to listen to our clients and explain to them the different approaches they can take. We are well-versed in estate planning practice areas and can explain, in an uncomplicated way, what your options are.

Our areas of estate practice include creating a last will and testament, a health care directive or living will, power of attorney and/or creating a trust. Each of these areas has its own concerns, and we will help you decipher the legal jargon and set out your wishes so that they are readily understood.

Your last will and testament will not only address your inheritance issues, it is also an opportunity to create a trust for your minor child, name a guardian for your minor child and ensure that your wishes are brought to fruition. It is a time to organize and update your general affairs.

A living will, or health care directive as they are now known in Minnesota, addresses important end of life issues. We all remember the furor and divisiveness surrounding the case of Terry Schiavo, a woman who was in a persistent vegetative state and who had not created a health care directive. The intrusion into her family and the dissension among her family members is not something any of us would wish to have happen. It is important to make your wishes known and enforceable through a valid health care directive. Whether you want to have every possible type of life-sustaining care provided, or if you would simply rather not have any, your wishes may not be heeded unless you make sure that they are set out in a valid health care directive.

In addition to creating a will, you may consider setting up a trust. Living trusts and testamentary trusts, which are created after your passing, in accordance with the directives set out in your will, are excellent ways to set aside funds to be used for identified purposes for the benefit of your spouse and family. Our attorneys are experienced in creating trusts to suit many needs, such as marital trusts, special needs trusts, charitable giving trusts and even college fund trusts.

It is important to think about what your needs are and what they can be. An estate plan is important for everyone, whether you are just starting your family or are entering a nursing home. The decisions you make at 25 are not the same as those you would make at 85, and at Gerten and Van Valkenburg, PA, we are ready to assist you every step of the way. Contact us and speak to an experienced attorney who is ready to help you ensure the creation of a thoughtful and practical estate plan.